Nov. 13 was a dark day for billions of people around the world, but Nov. 20 provided an evening for 1,700 people to escape the cloud that had surrounded the city only seven days earlier. It was a day to forget about the pain and loss. It was a day to become lost in the music.
Caravan Palace played live at the Olympia music hall in Paris, France, a show that was one of the first to be held in town following the tragic events of the week before. Marie Simon, who is a local journalist for L’Express and attended the show with two close friends, described her elation via a tweet that was posted from Caravan Palace’s emotional show at the Olympia in Paris, France. “Memory of a memorable concert at the Olympia [with] Caravan Palace Friday, 11.20.2015, a week after…Thank you!”
Fellow journalist Roland Richard posted a video inside of the Olympia following the show. In the video you can see people making their way to the exits and proudly singing the French National Anthem, La Marseillaise. The video was accompanied with the text, “Yesterday at the Olympia after the concert of Caravan Palace.”
These were a few of the messages being spread throughout Paris and the world following Caravan Palace’s emotional performance at the Olympia on Nov. 20. On the day the atrocities were committed in Paris, Caravan Palace was performing in Bordeaux, France. The group then decided to cancel upcoming events to allow band members time to go see loved ones and tend to other urgent matters.
Of the recent touring that Caravan Palace has been doing, the Nov. 20 show at Paris’s Olympia music hall has by far been the highlight of it all. The venue is a smaller one and is similar to the Bataclan Theatre where one of the Nov. 13 attacks was carried out. The Bataclan holds around 1,500 people when at capacity, while the Olympia holds over 1,700 folks. Zoé Colotis, singer for Caravan Palace, described the feeling and mood that filled up the Olympia on the night of Nov. 20.
“It’s one of the biggest venues in Paris, not talking about the stadiums or anything like that, but for the old venues. It’s been a very popular venue for a long time and is a very unique place. Usually when we play there, we’re very happy. This time we played in Paris, it was one week after the attack, so the emotion was really, really, really intense,” Colotis told atombash.com.
If someone had to describe Caravan Palace’s music as intense, they’d have to toss the word fun right after it because that’s the type of feeling a person has when listening to their electro-swing beats. If any band could provide a ray of light and shatter a cloud of gloom hovering above, it has got to be Caravan Palace.
Their Nov. 20 show was a night of firsts for a lot of people. For the band themselves, it was the first show they had performed in Paris since the tragic attacks. For many fans, who were in attendance at the Olympia, it was the first time they had gone to a concert in the seven days prior.
“It was a sign that we think of the victims and their families but we have to keep this memory alive. And the best way to do so is…living. Listening to music. Drinking good wine on a ‘terrasse’. That is not enough, of course, we need to understand why it happened, how it came this far. But staying at home, not doing anything, letting culture fade…is not the solution,” Simon told atombash.com.
The people who organized the Bataclan show on Nov. 13, Caravan’s concert marked a first for them. “The people who organized this show, our tour partner, were also the people who were organizing the one at the Bataclan. It was the first show they were doing after the attack,” Colotis said.
As you can imagine and infer from the tweets mentioned above, this night was an emotional one for a wide-variety of reasons. Colotis described the evening as a very unique one, and mentioned how intense the feeling was throughout the show.
Simon told us that at 9:20 p.m. local time, everyone in the venue took part in a tribute known as “Le Cri” or The Scream (video above). “It was unbelievable.” This was a sign of resistance and resilience, and a way to honor those who had fallen seven days before.
“There were people crying everywhere, on stage, backstage, people in the venue or the audience, the engineers. It was almost too hard to sing and talk to people because my voice was [emotional]. It was all a very, very specific and unique moment, but very intense,” Colotis said.
Music has such a special way of producing powerful emotion within all of us, and during times of suffering, music can be a form of healing. It’s clear those who were in attendance at the Olympia on Nov. 20 felt this way as many of them sent their thanks and gratitude to Caravan Palace.
“We had a lot of feedback about that. People sent us a lot of messages saying thank you for the show, we really needed that. Before, after and while we were performing, it was the first time where I felt like I was just a musician. For once, I felt like what we were doing was really important for people. Usually you don’t think about that, it’s just music. But then, it wasn’t only music, it was [patriotic],” Colotis said.
The night was a liberating and helpful step forward in the process of moving on with life, though no one will forget what happened seven days before. Caravan Palace creates music that will move you. The group released their newest album earlier this year and it’s called <|°_°|>. In this record is a collection of songs that have captured the imaginations of many Caravan Palace fans, but a few that stick out in particular are the tracks “Wonderland” and “Lone Digger.”
“Wonderland” is a track that was designed to be an old-school, hip-hop beat, without the profanities of course. The song features some epic parts where the saxophone steps in and clobbers your senses with some magnificent rifts. It’s hard to listen to this song and not automatically begin dancing.
“We listened to a lot of hip-hop and varied songs this past year, but some hip-hop sounds a bit too much, like it has an attitude of violence, dope, b*tches, [etc.]. So ‘Wonderland’ was a way to sort of make fun of it because it’s a girl singing and she wants to be a badass, but she’s not really a badass. It’s a tribute to hip-hop, but it’s also a bit tongue-in-cheek. We like the power of that music, not the message,” Colotis said.
Caravan’s latest album has a lot of variety from start to finish, and it was hard to narrow down the songs to ask about. That said, “Lone Digger” is a track that stands out for its fast-pace, snappy lyrics and epic saxophone rifts. Guitarist and vocalist Arnaud Vial spoke about the track and how it initially came together.
“It was a track that started out a bit more swingy, but we then felt like it was a bit boring. On the chorus we did something more rappy. We wanted to add a new vocals part just to do something different,” Vial said.
The vocals ultimately came together quite nicely and fit well with the pace. It is a song that certainly is not boring and as you can hear in the chorus, Colotis’ delivers on their desire to make the lyrics more “rappy.”
“We had two different versions of it and the first one was more traditional, from a vocal standpoint. We tried this and that, this and that. We started to ask people what they thought of it and they would say it’s catchy and different,” Colotis said.
The group works very hard on their entire show and that’s not just from a performance standpoint. Colotis said they try to be innovative and creative with the lights portion of their show because that, just as much as anything else, has tremendous power in creating “magical moments” for people to remember.
For fans in the U.S. who are excited to see Caravan in person, a tour could be coming during the first half of next year, though they are still deciding. Colotis also mentioned they have ambitions of collaborating with other artists to help produce some new and surprises songs for fans.
While the band is still deciding what their next album will be like, acoustic is one of the thoughts that seems to be swirling, as Vial told me. Colotis agreed that acoustic is an idea that could be sought out, in addition to working with some other acts to see what they could come up with. Caravan Palace will resume touring on Dec. 10, but this time in the United Kingdom for a total of six shows. They’ll then have time away from live shows until the beginning of February when they’ll get back on the road in Europe.
Music means something to each of us, even if it’s not always the same thing. It’s bands like Caravan Palace that put all they have into their live shows, and it’s the moments experienced that people take with them: the times when we become lost in the music.